Top tips for facilitation
The aim is for children to take over the role of facilitation. It is important that you model the skills and allow opportunities for them to develop these skills for themselves.
We need to be able to listen actively in more ways than just using our ears. In fact ears are just the tool we use to transfer words to our brains.
Listening with our brains
Tips for active listening
• Do I understand the question /statement?
• Do I need clarification or further explanation?
• What do I understand?
• Do I agree or disagree with the statement?
• Why do I agree or disagree?
• Can I see connections between what others say and my thinking?
• Do my questions or ideas help move the dialogue on?
• Do I recognise inconsistency in ideas?
• Do I recognise when my own thinking has moved on?
• Can I ask questions that help others move on?
Listening with our eyes
Tips for listening awareness
• Do people look interested in what is being said?
• Is anybody struggling to find space to talk?
• Are there any distractions to listening?
• Are people addressing their ideas to the group?
Listening with our hearts
Tips for empathic listening
• Are people using calm voices?
• Can we invite quieter members to share ideas?
• Are we looking beyond stereotypes?
• Are we being non-judgemental?
• Are we connecting with how others are feeling as well as their ideas?
• Are there frustrations in communication?
• Are we able to communicate respectfully to others?
• Can we recognise when and why the inquiry is not working?
• Can we challenge the behaviour of others respectfully?
HOW DOES A FACILITATOR FACILITATE?
• Allow the children to follow the ideas they wish to pursue. It is their inquiry and they should take responsibility for it.
• If the dialogue is not going anywhere ask them if they can identify why?
Is it poor listening?
Lack of clarity?
Lack of interest?
One person dominating?
Are they tired/uncomfortable?
• Do not assume you know what a question means. Get them to unpack all questions and ask them to clarify the thinking behind the question.
A question that might not seem worthy of philosophical pursuit might actually mean something interesting. For example:
Child A-“How did Max get to the Island?”
Child B- I can answer that, he went by boat.
Child A- I know that. What I meant was, did his mum make the boat appear because she was cross with him?
• Do not give your opinions. Instead offer a follow up question that challenges deeper thinking.
• Have an interest in philosophical ideas yourself. What are your thoughts on some of life’s big questions?
• Highlight philosophical themes as they occur. What we are talking about is ……
• Allow time to listen to your children outside of the community of enquiry. What disputes occur in the classroom/playground and why? What games and stories do they tell? Can you find stimuli to engage these interests and conflicts?
• Allow time for the children to continue to use the stimulus outside the inquiry. Create opportunities to extend their ideas through play and follow up activities.
• Display the children’s P4C work, ideas and questions. Build in time to make reference to them.
• Facilitate ALL learning. Do not think of philosophy as just a subject, but an ongoing way of developing a rich enquiry based classroom.
Useful Questions for facilitation*
Facilitator’s Questions (child speak)
What context/circumstances would change this?
Can you think of something that could happen to change that?
Is it always true?
What do you mean by….?
What evidence do you have to support your idea?
How do you know that is true?
Does that always happen?
Can that exist if something changes?
Will that still happen if …. changes?
Does that change your opinion?
Does that change what you think?
Can anyone give an example that proves/disproves that?
How do you know that’s true?
Are there degrees of…..?
Are there times when it is less/more …..?
Is there a difference between these two things?
Is there such a thing as….?
How would you define…..?
How would you explain what …..…..is?
Does that make sense?
Does that convince you…why/why not?
Has ……..’s thoughts made you change your mind?
Can you see any problems with that idea?
What issue/theme/concept is that question about?
*Source -Maria Cornish www.childrenthinking.co.uk
© childrenthinking 2013